We’re delighted to announce that The Square Ball won the Fanzine of the Year award on Saturday 9th July at the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Comedy Panel Show & Football Writers Awards that took place at The Tabernacle, Notting Hill, London. We were represented by three of the four podcast team, and creators of the magazine; Dan Moylan, Michael Normanton, and Moscowhite – known away from the internet as Daniel Robert Chapman. TSB podcast listeners will be familiar with the dulcet tones of Oddy Marone – on this occasion missing from the line up as he “enjoyed” a rain-soaked family holiday in Scotland.
TSB was in illustrious company, with a number of football media heavyweights present, including Luke Moore and Jim Campbell from The Football Ramble, top blogger Kieron O’Connor from The Swiss Ramble, Andy Brassell, and the deputy sports editor of guardian.co.uk, Barry Glendenning. Barry formed part of the comedy panel line-up along with ex-pro Paul Mortimer, a late replacement for Kenny Sansom; with the other team made up of Match of the Day 2 presenter and comedian Kevin Day and sweary ex-manager-turned-London-cabbie John Sitton.
If you’d like to read a full run-down of the evening’s events, including the winners of the six categories, you can do so here on the Hotscores blog. Alternatively you can read the FSF’s write up of the evening here.
Each round of the comedy was interspersed with an award, and the fanzine award was first up, almost catching us unprepared. The six nominees were listed, and they were:
- A Love Supreme (Sunderland)
- Boss Mag (Liverpool)
- CFCUK (Chelsea)
- City Independent (Hull City)
- The Square Ball (Leeds United)
- United We Stand (Manchester United)
Kevin Day made the announcement that we had won – selected by the FSF judging panel – and a quick dash to the front was followed by a brief acceptance speech, before the three of us returned to our seats triumphantly clutching our shiny, new award. The rest of the night melted away in a sea of Guinness, and we enjoyed amiable banter with fans of various clubs, not to mention laughter at John Sitton’s borderline manic performance; going very close to the bone as he fired out edgy gags about Ron Atkinson and Graham Rix, among others.
The event finally wound down in the bar after the show had finished, and we were finally ushered out, back into Notting Hill in search of pubs in which to continue our celebrations.
Now the headaches have finally subsided – the paracetamol-laden journey back to Leeds on Sunday was a slightly more subdued affair – we wanted to briefly reflect on the award and say thank you.
Although many Leeds fans will tell you that TSB has been around for years, the present team only took it on in the summer of 2009 as it seemed like the mag was struggling, and had reached the end of its natural life. At this point we should say thanks to the founder of TSB, and its editor until 2009, Ian Dobson. Thank you for letting us look after your baby – we hope we’ve done it proud.
When we took the mag on two years ago, we really were rank amateurs with no idea about publishing, layout or design. This was reflected in the look of the first issue of the 2009-10 season; a 32-page black and white effort, featuring an interview with Richard Naylor.
Over the course of the next two seasons, the team behind the mag has learned a lot, and developed the appearance into the publication we see today: 48-page full colour. Next season we hope it will be bigger and better still.
The magazine would be nothing without the quality of its contributions, which have increased in both volume and quality over the last two years. So, if you are part of the band of willing volunteers who have sent us your thoughts over the last couple of years, we’d like to say a sincere thanks to you. If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘I’d like to write something,’ then we welcome all contributions with open arms – TSB isn’t a closed shop; it’s here to provide a platform for you, no matter what your view. Send it to us.
We would also like to say a huge thank you to all the amateur photgraphers who continue to allow us to use their pictures to show the ups and downs of being a Leeds United fan. Again, the magazine would be nothing without those pictures. If you’d like your shots to feature then we’d be delighted to receive them.
Finally, we want to say the biggest thank you to you for buying the magazine, reading it, and giving us such positive feedback on our efforts. Sales have increased far beyond the levels we expected when we started this two years ago, and we are truly thankful that people keep putting their hands in their pockets to buy the mag. At this point we should also say thanks to everyone who has helped us sell it too – it takes real fortitude to stand on the streets on a cold, rainy February night, and for that we’re extremely grateful.
If you’ve never bought the mag before but this award and article has been enough to sway your interest, then we hope you like what you read. TSB truly is by the fans and for the fans. We’ll have details of how you can buy and subscribe to the mag for the new season on the site shortly, including details of an improved package for subscribers, but please bear with us while we continue to get our new server up and running properly. We want to do the work now in what’s left of the close season so it works correctly when the action kicks off.
We were genuinely surprised, humbled and flattered to be given this award, and we hope we can continue to improve TSB. As Sgt Wilko will tell you: retaining the title is the hardest thing. Keep sending us your stuff.
Finally, one remaining detail of our night out in London has to be shared. After carefully nursing our precious award all the way through the night, we finally got back to the hotel in the early hours of the morning. Dan, carrying the trophy, stumbled as he exited the taxi, and lost control of the box it was in. In a sickening moment of slow motion, the box clattered to the ground, immediately followed by the sound of breaking glass. Very rock’n'roll and very Leeds United.